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Hanwha Galleria opened store in Gwanggyo

The Galleria department store in Gwanggyo

Hanwha Galleria opened a new “Galleria” department store in Gwanggyo, Suwon, Gyeonggi Province, Korea on 2nd March.

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This is the first new store since the Hanwha Group franchise opened one in Cheonan, South Chungcheong Province, in 2010.

Hanwha Galleria said the Gwanggyo outlet is a luxury goods store similar to its franchise in Apgujeong, Seoul.

“Our sales target for the opening year of Galleria Gwanggyo is 500 billion won (US$410.7 million),” a company official said.

The new store is the largest among five that Hanwha Group operates. Its total floor space is 150,000 square meters, with 73,000 square meters is used as a business area from the basement level to the 12th floor.

The building’s exterior has a huge rock-layer pattern, and a prism-like passage that winds around the building from the entrance to the roof. The design deviates from the typical department store business practice of avoiding windows, and allows sunlight to shine on every floor.

Traditional department stores have not installed windows so that customers fully focus on shopping and are not distracted.

According to the company, 125,000 granite stones were used to cover the exterior, and the glass passage gives visitors the experience of being in a mine buried for long time in a sedimentary layer.

The store’s lighting is designed to look like jewels shining in a mine at night, the company said.

The department store was designed and constructed by OMA, a Dutch architectural firm led by Rem Koolhaas, with the concept “Lights in your life.” Koolhaas won the Pritzker Architectural Prize in 2000.

The company wants Galleria Gwanggyo to become “the most luxurious department store” in Gyeonggi Province, targeting customers residing in the southern part of the region.

High-end fashion houses like Gucci, Fendi, Balenciaga, Off White and Bally have stores there, along with luxury watch brands such as Jaeger-LeCoultre, IWC and Tag Heuer.

Hanwha Galleria said the luxury brands is on sale on the second floor in the first half of the year.

The department store also operates the country’s largest VIP lounge on the 12th floor. Samsung Electronics’ future-concept “Premium Store” is housed on the sixth to eighth floors, while LG Electronics opened a “Signature kitchen suite” on the eighth floor.

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“Galleria Gwanggyo becomes a symbol of a growth engine in the department store business together with Time World in Daejeon,” said Hanwha Galleria President and CEO Kim Eun-soo.

(Source: Korea Times)